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  • Please do not post solutions to puzzles, but rather post hints as appropriate in response to queries
  • Type [spoiler] ... [/spoiler] around the outside of any hints so they can't be read by accident - e.g. [spoiler]have you tried looking at the corner of the page?[/spoiler]

#26 2020-01-14 01:07:23

Cpostano
Member
Registered: 2019-12-31
Posts: 25

Re: No progress

Stavr0s wrote:

Ha, finally, thanks!
Can someone explain

Spoiler

why we had to look for words with the letter z? My copy of the book says 'all twenty-six characters', not 'all twenty-sixth characters'.

Yeah, I didn't understand that part either, although I did figure out the puzzle....

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#27 2020-01-28 21:11:25

mcwuzzy
Member
Registered: 2020-01-27
Posts: 15

Re: No progress

It's possibly a clue error

Spoiler

the note mentions All 26 characters, which would imply the alphabet, or a-z, and indeed there are a lot of words that have a and z in them, except one, tweeze, which spoils the pattern.

Last edited by mcwuzzy (2020-01-29 09:49:28)

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#28 2020-01-29 00:47:40

404
Administrator
Registered: 2019-11-17
Posts: 11

Re: No progress

There are no errors in the book, and all the clues have a grammatical interpretation which precisely fits their intended meaning. It might not be the most obvious interpretation, but that doesn't make it an error.

Since the clues are written cryptically, you have to work out how to interpret the clue. In this case:

Spoiler

You can imagine that there are implicit quote marks around the 'twenty-six'. So you are looking for all 'twenty-six' characters. It's then up to you to understand that the simplest interpretation of 'character twenty-six' is 'Z'. Similarly you also need to work out that a 'character' means a letter in this context, and that 'held in custody' refers to the letters being held in the custody of other letters, i.e. within a word. Then you must 'find the source', i.e. the start of those words.

And just to be clear, you don't need to have the quote marks for this to be valid. I only suggest imagining them in order to make it clearer how you could parse the clue differently. Working out how to break down a cryptic clue is one way to solve a small number of the puzzles in this book, and if you aren't familiar with this type of deliberately misleading cryptic phrasing then you can arrive at the solution without fully parsing the clue by observing that twenty-six is a very unusual number to have in writing, and what a coincidence that there are 26 letters in the alphabet - and we have other puzzles where 1=A, 2=B etc in the book.

A third way to tackle the puzzle is to observe some highly unusual phrasing, such as 'worker gaze', 'agonizing failures', 'tweeze out the weak', 'visualize improvement', 'idealized outcome' etc and notice the connection between them. Despite sometimes deliberate appearance otherwise, there is almost nothing in the book which has no meaning - even if it isn't part of the apparent solution, it often acts as a clue to an alternative way to reach an observation that clues the solution. I'm not going to explain this further, since it will spoil the puzzles, but any time there is something seemingly unrequired on the page you can be sure it actually has a purpose - just not necessarily an essential one.

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#29 2020-01-29 10:06:41

mcwuzzy
Member
Registered: 2020-01-27
Posts: 15

Re: No progress

Spoiler

I understand your explanation. If you need quote marks, probably best to print them, there's none in my copy and guessing where implicit quotes might be is a bit of a stretch!
So I needed to find the sources for all twenty-six characters. I would interpret 'all 26' as the alphabet, or an abbreviation of such, e.g. a-z. As all the words that make the answer, apart from tweeze, contain, or 'hold in custody', an 'a' and a 'z' in order, this seemed a very logical solution.
Requiring a solver to imagine random implicit quotes and then to make a leap from all twenty-six to character 26 is not a logical process.

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#30 2020-01-30 00:09:13

kite
Member
Registered: 2019-11-29
Posts: 13

Re: No progress

Spoiler

Saying that the phrase 'all twenty-six characters' can be logically interpreted to mean 'only z' as long as one imagines random emphasis quotes is not very satisfying.  (I liked the book! I generally found the puzzle-solving logic good! But this one felt frustratingly random, even with the explanation.) 

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